That was the third (and the last day) in Chiang Mai and it felt heavy already to be leaving the city. Chiang Mai had been so beautiful and amazing and I enjoyed every moment I spent there. Me and my friend spent three days in Chiang Mai during the 2019 Yi Peng Lantern Festival. On day-1 we did temple-hop from noon to evening to celebrate the Yi Peng Lantern Festival. On Day-2, we had a lovely day with the elephants in Elephant Jungle Sanctuary and visiting the beautiful Royal Rajapruek Garden. For day three, we did waterfall hunting throughout Chiang Mai Region.
The waterfall hunt felt so right and complement the trip that was already filled with culturally and nature-charged experiences ranging from temple hopping to bathing the elephant on its sanctuary. For the itinerary, we visited Pa Chor Tourist Point in the morning, and then continued with the waterfall hunting. Here’s my itinerary in a map.
For this tailored itinerary, we chose to rent a car (and it was the best decision!) since places we visited were miles apart and located outside Chiang Mai’s City Center. Riding a bicycle was definitely not in our option. Again, we booked the car through the receptionist in our Amazing Hotel Tato’s House.
Pha Chor Tourist Point
We went as early as 5 am from our hotel to Pha Chor Tourist Point. It is about an hour drive to the Southwest part of Chiang Mai. Pha Chor Tourist Point is located within Mae Wang National Park and it is one of the many attractions inside the National Park. It is also called Pha Chor Canyon.
Pha Chor Canyon was created after Ping River changed its course many years ago. The passing of time can change the topography of a place and can create strange sights. First the shift created a hill and after time passed the hill eroded and changed into cliffs and soil pillars. These cliffs run as high as 30 meters.
We arrived too early and the security post was not opened yet and left unguarded. However, the entrance bar was widely opened. We didn’t want to enter without paying the fee so we waited for a while. But after few minutes, we decided to enter the area and pay the fee on our way back when the office is open. The roadway to the Pha Chor viewing point was clearly marked with sign post and it’s about 4-5 km drive from the entrance gate. The entrance fee to this place is 100 baht for foreigner.
The distance between the parking lot to the viewing point is about 2-3 km.
Mae Ya Waterfall
Mae Ya Waterfall is I think one of the best waterfalls I have seen in Chiang Mai or even on this trip (Chiang Mai and Laos). Still located inside Doi Inthanon National Park, this waterfall is the highest waterfall in the park with the streams coming from Mae Ya Creek. It has 30 levels with overall height around 260 meters. The waterfall opens daily from 8 am to 5 pm and the entrance fee costs 300 baht
For a single waterfall, it is big and grand. It gives us the ability to see all the waterfall terraces/level from the front side and combined with the height, gives us the waterfall chill and splash we need.
This waterfall is located inside Doi Inthanon National Park and fall from the 50 meters-height cliff to the base. The water coming to Mae Ping river with high flow throughout the year. This waterfall viewing point is set quite far and the waterfall cannot be approached closely like those in Mae Ya Waterfall and Wachirathan Waterfall. As far as I’m concerned, there’s no further access past the viewing point.
Visiting wachirathan waterfall closed our waterfall hunting that day, and it was another beautiful waterfall. Unlike Sirithan with limited space around the viewing point, the area around waterfall was spacious and you can come down and enjoy the waterfall closely. At that time, we arrived to the waterfall when it was raining. So, the access to the bottom area was slippery.
After going Watchiratan Waterfall, we went to Doi Inthanon National Park and what I mean is the summit or the viewing point. At that time, the location was very foggy and it was drizzling, even after we had waited for about 30 minutes. So, we could not enjoy the sunset view that we saw in the website. We were definitely disappointed, but we had to leave for Laos the next day. So, we went back to the hotel anyway.
That day was probably the most fun part out of Chiang Mai city and we had definitely enjoyed some of the best waterfalls in Chiang Mai if not in Thailand.